March 31, 2019

Fear No Evil - A Journey through Grief by Gloria Guest


“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…. “Ps. 23:4a KJV


"He leads me beside still waters." Ps 23
My family lived under the shadow of death for twelve years when my mother was first diagnosed with cancer at the young age of thirty-six. I was sixteen, with two younger sisters and one older who had already left home.

I will never forget first overhearing the words, ‘Hodgkin’s disease,’ from my father, talking to someone on the phone. And I’ll never forget reading the words, ‘cancer’ and ‘sometimes fatal,’ when I looked up the definition of Hodgkin’s in our encyclopedia. Those words were my first steps into the shadows of death that would overtake myself and my family for the next twelve years and beyond.

It has now been twenty-nine years since mom died on a warm, sunny morning. No longer sixteen, I was now twenty-eight and a mother of two. Yet I felt as confused and fearful as I had twelve years ago when I’d first read those devastating words. Mom’s death would be one of the destabilizing forces that would send me not only through the valley of the shadow of death but the valley of depression.

Many people lose their parents much younger than I did.  So why it sent me into such a tailspin is likely due to the circumstances that I’d grown up in and how my mother had been for me, a buffer between all things bad, especially my father.

 During those hard times and in fact in years previous, he did some things that would affect us as a family up until this very day and eventually even lead to my younger sister's suicide, fourteen years after our mother died.  It was after mom's death, perhaps because there was no longer anyone to hold shut the closet door, that the skeletons in our family began to emerge, first with my own returning memories of things that I had witnessed as a child and then with my younger sister telling us of our father’s abuse of her for years. It was devastating. I had so many unanswered questions that I couldn’t ask my mother. My feelings that she had been my buffer and safe place, disintegrated. I wasn’t sure what or who to look to anymore and felt incredibly unmoored and adrift.

“…for thou art with me. Thy rod and they staff they comfort me.” Ps 23:4b KJV

My comfort would come primarily in the form of counseling. I first started in the years after my mother died and again after my sister’s death. There, I was free to be myself and share the inner thoughts that I felt were too much for everyone else. As years of pain came off in layers, Gods comfort started to become something real and not just something that I heard about in a church sermon.
It was definitely not an easy process nor is it a complete process. I struggled to come up with a sufficient end to this post and then decided it was okay not to have one. I believe I will be on this journey for the rest of my life and yes I have made much progress. Mostly though, it is a journey that I’m not on alone. God walks with me. That’s the important part.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. Ps. 5-8 RSV

Gloria Guest blogs for Inscribe and her personal blog at www.wordpress.gloriaguest.com from Caron, Sk.

March 30, 2019

Recalculating ... Recalculating by Kate Gerke

Find Comfort Here



Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21


I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was twenty-four years old and my path was already gouged out to the extent that I could not possibly plan to take a road less traveled.

As of this year, I have been wandering in and out of the desert for thirty years with an insidious undercurrent of feeling sad, because of the many losses I have incurred. I have lost the use of both arms and both legs and am confined to an electric wheelchair, loss of a job, income, beloved home, identity, choices, hope, freedom, and loss of control over the environment that I am now living – that of long-term care.
I always have this feeling of being left behind as I see other people’s lives moving forward out of sight. I liken my days to that of my “May Long Weekend Syndrome” where: Everybody Is Doing Everything But Me. I am tired of feeling like a sack of cement has fallen onto my heart every time somebody mentions worldly trips, marriages, new babies, spontaneous day excursions to the mountains, camping, and hiking. This list is as long as my imagination will allow.

Throughout the first half of 2018, Ruth, who is a psychiatric nurse that works at the facility where I live was unable to entertain any solutions to my declining despair. It was this anniversary of sorts, that sent me reeling off my path, into hollowness and becoming entangled in a thicket of thistles and thorns of extreme consternation.

We started to look into existing programs throughout the city where I could find specialized bereavement counseling for my unique losses. It was during one such call where I was told, “A human being had to have been lost.”

I said, “I have been lost for 30 years. Does that count?”

Transition

In the summer of 2018, family and friends were startled to notice that I wasn’t coping well. I was unable to reflect and find strength in my past victories and blessings and was distracted by fretting about my own desires, not God’s. How do I reconcile my feelings that I’m not mad at God or the disease, but how inaccessible my world is and what I miss? Is this a form of envy? It’s this type of thinking that makes me falter.

God may know me intimately, but I do not.

It wasn’t until Ruth was able to find me a therapist, that specialized in grief counseling and would be willing to help me move through the uncharted territory called Kate Gerke.

Oswald Chambers eloquently wrote:
"Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him." 
I came to the realization that I’m keeping my soul’s losses in purgatory, and denying it rest. I needed to hand over these losses in Christ to unburden myself for the journey ahead.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
On January 1, 2019, I took my first step and started a daily journal that would best articulate daily trends in my emotional and spiritual growth or lack thereof. Additionally, I would include prayers and relevant Scripture that would hearten me while I dictated some of my most painful reflections. To start, I read the book of Proverbs – for the first time – and prayed for wisdom and understanding on how to recalibrate my moral compass and how to represent Christ in my relationships.

I am now reading the book of Psalms – for the first time ever in my 15 years as a Christian! With renewed hope and comfort moving forward, I have realized that I need to reflect on my inner-self and regain a more healthy and steadfast perspective on the permanency of my realities.

Anywhere You Want It To Be

The word of God will afford me direction, but it’s His grace that enables me to follow it, and it’s that grace that can only be obtained by my devoted prayers.
“even though he had always been with us in the desert. During the daytime, the LORD was in the cloud, leading us in the right direction and showing us where to camp. And at night, he was there in the fire.” Deuteronomy 1:33
This new journey that I’m on is going to be just as unsettled and grueling as the last, but at least I will be able to enjoy the scenery.





Katie Gerke was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, but has soldiered on despite her losses. Katie started mouth painting in 2008 and has been writing since 2010. She now runs her own business and is still walking with Jesus Chris



March 28, 2019

Didactic' Isn't a Prehistoric Bird by Bruce Atchison


I'm attempting something I've never done before. Instead of writing another memoir, I'm working on a didactic book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Since I've never written an instructive book previously, I feel somewhat intimidated at the size of this project.

Writing a paperback about who goes to heaven, from a biblical view, is an awesome chore. Since it's so important, I don't want to be like the people who add or subtract from the scriptures.

Look at the warning in Revelation 22:18 and 19 (BBE). "For I say to every man to whose ears have come the words of this prophet's book, If any man makes an addition to them, God will put on him the punishments which are in this book: And if any man takes away from the words of this book, God will take away from him his part in the tree of life and the holy town, even the things which are in this book."

I'd much rather take Paul's advice when studying and writing about the Word of God. We read in 2 Timothy 2:15 (BBE), "Let it be your care to get the approval of God, as a workman who has no cause for shame, giving the true word in the right way."

Additionally, I realize that sticking strictly to what Holy Scripture says and making sure I interpret it God's way is no easy task. Look at what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:12 (BBE). "And further, my son, take note of this: of the making of books there is no end, and much learning is a weariness to the flesh."

Knowing this daunting truth, I still work to the best of my ability. Revelation 22:12 (BBE) encourages me through the weariness. "See, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man the outcome of his works."

And thanks to trailing-edge technology and the gracious gifts of friends, I have the tools to study the scriptures. Dan, my brother in Christ, gave me a CD-ROM with the QuickVerse program on it. With that, I can find any word or phrase in the King James Version.

But the program won't work on computers with 32-bit or 64-bit processors. That's why I'm so glad the Radway library gave me their cast-off desktop PC with Windows XP on it. Better still, it can run older programs which new computers won't. I can carry on for years with this wonderful software.

Best of all, I can copy and paste verses from both the King James and Bible in Basic English versions, thanks to another old program called Bible Seeker. I downloaded it for free, a price I quite enjoy paying.



March 26, 2019

Where Am I? - Marnie Pohlmann

Spot the deer
My husband was an active hunter when I married him, so I learned new things. I learned how to
-          safely handle and shoot a rifle, shotgun, and pistol without injuring myself.
-          hit the target I was aiming for even if it was moving.
-          know I was shooting at an animal that was legal to take at that time and in that place.
-          gut and skin a deer, though honestly, Wally always did that messy work for me
-          take care of the meat until it could be processed.
-          cook and eat what I shot.

Probably the two most important things I learned were how to
-          drive a standard gearshift truck, and
-          find my way back out of the bush we traveled.

I enjoy riding along with Wally as we explore the wild bush, letting him concentrate on keeping the truck from hitting trees or getting stuck in mud while I enjoy the autumn warmth, the beauty of wildflowers, and scout for animals. One day early in our explorations Wally mentioned that if something happened and he was hurt, I would need to know how to get back to civilization for help. He instructed me to turn around and look back the way we had come so I would recognize the way things looked. Trees and paths look different going toward them than they do when returning from them.

Know how to return to God
Since that day, I have made it a habit to look over my shoulder to see how a fork in the road or a landmark looks after I have passed it, so I can hopefully recognize the way I had traveled. As you may know from my post “Directionally Challenged” I do easily get lost. Maybe not really lost, but I often turn the wrong way from where I intend to go, so knowing how to get back to where I came from is a valuable skill.

It is easy to imagine how Moses and the children of Israel wandered for 40 years before arriving at the Promised Land. Shifting landscapes in the desert would make it difficult to recognize what direction they had already traveled, even when they did look behind. They were not supposed to look back or lust after their former life in Egypt but were to follow the cloud and fire pillars of God’s leading.

So, are we, as Christians today, supposed to look back or not?

David writes in Psalms 143:10 “May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” The apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 wrote “…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… I press on to reach the end…” The events of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, recounted in Genesis 19, are a warning to not look back, as when Lot’s wife looked back, she was turned into a pillar of salt.

Yet many times in Scripture stones were also piled or an altar built so when others came by or the builders looked back, they could see where God had worked in their lives. Looking back gave faith to continue, knowing God was in control. Looking back to see how far we’ve come helps us not be discouraged when we see we still have a long way to go.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son told by Jesus in Luke 15, the younger son finally realizes he has wandered so far away he is worse off than when he was at home. He makes his way back to his father. There are times we may realize we have wandered far off the path on which God was leading us. Looking back to the last time we were walking with God can help us see where and maybe when we turned in the wrong direction or off the path, so we can return to our Saviour’s side.
Adventures are not easy

Joshua reminded the children of Israel to obey everything Moses wrote, not turning to the left or the right. Isaiah confirmed that when we choose to follow God, we will hear his voice telling us the way we should go. When we are at a crossroads and are wondering what to do or which way to go, we can look back in our lives to the last time God gave us direction, and we can know with confidence that if he has not told us to turn in another direction we must continue on in the way he last directed us to go.

The answer to the question then,
-          no, believers should not look back, and
-          yes, believers may need to look back.

The only way we will know which we are to do at any given time is to familiarize ourselves God’s voice and pay attention to our surroundings. When we are aware of God's presence and his work going on around us, we can be confident God is leading as we journey into uncharted territory.

Our Christian lives are not likely to be safe and certainly should not be stagnant. Walking each day with God is an adventure, and adventures are best when unexpected, unknown paths present themselves before us to be explored. Yes, even the scary paths that lead through dark forests and valleys.
Taking words to uncharted territory
 Writers, I encourage you to not remain in the comfort of your past successes, but to step into new areas. Perhaps try writing in a new genre, or maybe take the leap from writing for yourself to sharing your writing with others, or perhaps it is time to speak, to share your message in person. Then the adventure of seeing God use your words will come alive!

I know there are things I still need to learn for an adventure that includes writing. I may be able to shoot, and I may be able to identify what to shoot towards, yet I still need to learn how to navigate the path God is leading me on so I don’t get side-tracked or take a wrong turn. Or if I do find myself lost, I need to be willing to repent, to return to where God last directed me.

In my writing and in my life in general, I am on an adventure with God that often leads me into uncharted territory.

Where are you?


*photos CCO license courtesy of Pixabay.com


Marnie Pohlmann journeys with God in Northern British Columbia. She knows God holds her hand, directs her steps, and smooths the way as she joins Him in adventures through uncharted territories in writing and life.
Read more about her adventures each month on this blog, and on her own blog, Phosphorescent.

March 24, 2019

Faith To Step Out - Shirley S. Tye

The Bible states that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV). The Oxford Canadian Dictionary describes faith as “complete trust or confidence; a firm belief, especially without logical proof”.  Hebrews chapter eleven lists many people who acted in faith and the amazing things they accomplished.  Do I have faith to chart a new territory? Is God challenging me to chart a new territory? 

Since retirement from full-time work, almost every day feels like a new adventure; even the simplest things sometimes are challenging.  However, my so-called ‘adventures’ are a long shot from the adventures some people experience.  Driving to new places on out-of-town charters present new challenges each time; mapping the safest route, searching satellite pictures for places to park and turn around a forty-five-foot-long bus – the silly thing doesn’t bend around corners and takes up a great deal of space.  The film industry presents its own challenges; what exactly are the directors and producers expecting; how to portray a character as a believable person; how long will we be working in the cold to shoot one scene?  Is it time to eat?  

My adventures and challenges are not exciting, and they do not require deep faith.  When something new pops up, I simply tackle the job and hope I do it right. I sit on two boards, and when given a task to do, I ask God for wisdom and talent to get the job done.  And away I go, just as I did when parachute jumping in my twenties.  I threw myself backwards off the airplane strut, plummeted spread-eagle several feet and trusted the parachute had been packed correctly by my instructor.   

But with age comes fears or perhaps it’s an abundance of caution.  I’m no longer daring, leaping into things, or off things.  If God were to challenge me to chart a new territory today, would I be up to it?  Perhaps not. However, 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV) tells us that “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Wow! Image that!  Whatever God calls me to do, I’ll be able to do it because He will supply all that I need to accomplish the task.  Yes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) I need not fear or doubt when the Lord calls me to chart a new territory.  He has told us not to “fear but to be strong and of good courage because He goes with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV)

Well then!  If God calls me to rise to a new challenge, I’ll be ready because He will make me ready.  Whether or not the task sounds logical to my limited understanding, I’ll have complete trust and confidence, and faith to step out because He has promised to be with me. What an amazing God we serve!
                                                                        

March 22, 2019

Heading Into New Territory by Alan Anderson






Isaiah 46:4: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”


I’m heading into new and unknown territory for me. Some people refer it to “old age.” I don’t know when one is supposed to know old age has been reached. All I know is I have never been there before but I know it’s just around the corner. It’s seems natural to be growing older. I wonder what being “old” will be like? I sense eternity is on the horizon and I find comfort in that future.

My years of being involved in ministry have caused me to listen to my teachers, those older than I. They have taught me challenges and blessings of old age. As one older lady said to me “Old age ain’t for sissies!” I believe her. The blessings include doing life on a more unhurried basis, especially if one continues to enjoy good health. These days with spring drawing closer I spend time outside just watching the birds eat from the old coffee maker I turned into a birdfeeder. No reason to rush from this simple pleasure.




I believe spending time with my elders, my teachers, has helped pave the way for me, as I grow older. The time with them was a study in aging. I saw the joy of old age in their eyes and the cries of old age from their hearts. The loudest and most heartbreaking cries came from those whose beloved children had died before them. As they told me, that’s not supposed to happen. Crushing yet humbling words, I pray I never experience such a sorrowful loss.

I remember being invited to a birthday party for a lady who turned one hundred five years old. She was the center of attraction and she loved it. She was a library of stories going back decades. She taught me of the enduring love for our parents we may enjoy even to our old, old age. One day when I visited with her we both realized Mother’s Day was not far away. She turned to me and said, “Here I am over one hundred years old and I miss my mom. In fact I miss both my parents.” I will always remember that sweet endearing statement.

As I get older I am aware I have more years behind me than I do ahead of me. As a Christian I also know life does not end with my earthly death. I guess I am at a point in life where such a thought is acceptable to me. Such a prospect as a life after this makes this one even more worthwhile. It’s like living in the here and now is giving me practice for the life to come.

I find comfort in my faith in God as I walk into the later stage of my life. I am reminded from the Bible that God loves me. Wow, what a precious truth to embrace. His Word also assures me He has prepared a place for me and I will be in this place forever. Such assurance is humbling. You see, faith in God means I am not earthbound. My citizenship is not confined to this life.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.—John 14:3 (NIV)

If you read this rambling blog post to the end I thank you. As I write it is like I am chatting with friends. You are the kind of friends who make life less lonely and more meaningful for this aging writer. I mean, where would life be without writers or readers? We are in this life together my friends. Thank you for being my companions.


You can read more by Alan Anderson on his blog Scarred Joy.





March 21, 2019

WANTED: Experienced Cartographer, Attention to Detail Necessary ... by Jocelyn Faire

Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your home towns. Jeremiah 31:21 The Msg

Everything in life is much simpler when we are given a detailed map, course outline, or precise instructions to follow. But Life doesn't work that way. It's the twists and turns that develop us. It feels as though I have had a decade of uncharted territory ... actually fourteen years of it ... actually, life is uncharted territory. You would think I would have learned something by now ... and I have.

I have learned that as long as one lives, learning opportunities abound, and I learn best through complications in life.

I have learned that navigating through these uncharted troubles of life requires a great deal of emotional energy. 

I have learned that faith is not the opposite of doubt, faith is acting out our trust.

I have learned that faith is an operation mode that requires practice.

I have learned that we speak ourselves in the direction we want to go.

My recent uncharted territory comes in a unique format. With my marriage of two years, I inherited nine grandchildren, these nine children come as Lego parts of three different sets. On the flip side, I am learning how to be the inherited grandmother. For the youngest children, I will be the only remembered grandma. As two-year-old Brynn stated while we drove past a cemetery “Grandma B is in heaven.” Her two sisters told her that she'd never met Grandma B. These little ones have taken to me well, and I to them. But I also carry self-inflicted guilt as my own grandchildren live overseas and I have limited time with them. My mind began a deceptive mathematical withhold love kind of reasoning in order to keep my biological off-spring in first place; as if love invested here would lessen the amount of love left for my grandkids. In the last two years, my writing time has dwindled while my love of life has increased. Much of my writing of the past dozen years, has come from a place of deep pain. And now the resurfacing of joy has surprised me; this is all new territory.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6 NIV
Afraid of Heights
It was a year ago that I had a nasty tumble while downhill skiing with my husband. The diagnosis was an avulsion fracture, and two torn ligaments of the left knee ... I was one-legged for three months. This year I determined to ski again, my husband was not quite as convinced. But we went, and I must say it was a huge success. I am doing the final edits on this post as we drive away from the mountains. While skiing, I thought of lessons
learned on mountain tops ... this year a new Fear of Heights reared its head. As I pondered this, I equated this to uncharted territory. I have struggled through despair ... in fact in the grief years, I questioned my right to be happy. Sometimes grief becomes a well-worn garment, we grow accustomed to its heaviness. When spring bursts forth, we feel naked without the winter coat, it all seems too sunny.

It would have been reasonable and easy to give up the skiing, given that I now live in the flattest province of the country; yet, I persisted. But when I got off the chair lift ... the rubber hit the road in the form of skis hitting the snow. Two anemic pieces of fibreglass are supposed to take me down a mountain? I had reason to be afraid. It would be easy not to try. What if I would get hurt? But what if I didn't? I'd done the physio.

Some of the same questioning has come to haunt my writing as well ... It would be easy to quit, but what if I succeed? What does success look like? Hundreds of people on the same mountain each with a different goal in mind; some snowboarders do aerials, some blaze down the mountain, some parents strap their kids alongside and traverse together, there were many other grey heads on skis. We studied the ski maps before we jumped on the chair lifts, the difficulty level was colour coded. As we interacted with other skiers, we explained: we ski like grandparents—because we are!

So I have learned that while navigating new territory or ski slopes—get a good map, follow a trusted guide, and cheer one another on along the way.


March 20, 2019

To See The Uncharted - Denise M. Ford


These thoughts come to mind as I mull over the idea of this month’s blog theme,

Uncharted Territory…
To open my eyes and see,
To clear my vision to interpret,
To know the meaning of another person’s gaze,
To trust the message within a shared look.

I open the door this morning to peer through the darkness to allow my field of vision to settle on the silhouettes of the spruce boughs.  Their branches are slowly brushing against each other, untangling themselves beneath the dawning light.  I struggle to bring the details into view, to see the dark green outlines forming before me, to bring meaning to their beauty.  In my mind I hear, 
“Come, come discover today, see what is uncharted yet set before you.”
The past few days have broadened my perception and my concept of how I might interpret this theme. Some personal interactions have given me the opportunity to witness how I can see and make sense of personal uncharted territories.  The way the spruce boughs revealed themselves to me this morning reminded me to consider these moments.
On Saturday, while babysitting my grandson, I marvelled at his interpretation of his world.  At nearly 9 months old he has mastered the quick pivoting head move to assure himself that his mommy or his daddy still remains in his line of vision.  When suddenly he becomes aware of their absence his ability to enjoy his surroundings disintegrates into fearful anxiety.  He cries as he loses sight of them.  His uncharted territory appears before him: Nana and Pop-pop staring back at him instead of mommy and daddy.  His eyes reflect his fear and his confusion. In my mind I hear his unspoken questions,
“Where am I?  Why did they leave me?  Am I alone?” 
On Sunday, while walking hand-in-hand with my granddaughter at the local ski hill, we pass an elderly gentleman.  His eyes look wildly about as he grabs the arm of his companion to steady himself.  The man is obviously in an unfamiliar setting, stepping onto a snowy path, the sun casting a harsh glare directly into his eyes.  His wild gaze clearly means he can’t see beyond his precarious position.  His uncharted territory appears like a vast wilderness oppressing and paralyzing him.  In my mind I hear his silent screams,
“Where should I go? Can you take me away from here!” 
On Monday, I spend the afternoon reading to pairs of first graders at the local elementary school.  I meet them at their classrooms, and we chat as we walk to the small reading room.  I try to look directly at them so they can see my genuine interest in what they tell me.  “I was hoping I would see you today,” one young boy says to me.  He runs ahead and when I arrive, I see him sitting at the reading table with his head tilted up toward me.  His eyes look up eagerly to connect with mine.  In my mind I hear an innocent yet mischievous message,
“I’m ready, let’s have some fun!”
Sometimes our eyes allow us to gradually see what might be possible as a new day unfolds before us.  Sometimes our ideas of how we see ourselves in a certain time and place form exaggerated feelings and we react fearfully and uncontrollably.  Sometimes we find ourselves directly engaged in seeing and understanding a message that is sent within a shared look.  To see and to perceive becomes our new uncharted territory.  To ask ourselves,
“What is it that I am seeing?” “Can I face it without fear?” 
“Can I sort through the confusion?” “Can I trust the situation?”
I am currently in a program of vision therapy to improve the way my eyes track and focus.  The goal of one exercise is to correct the choppy motion of my eyes as they try to focus on an object as it moves from point to point.  In order to reassure myself as I do this exercise, I have placed a picture of the face of Jesus on one end of a popsicle stick to use as my focal object.  I find it fascinating to look into the eyes of Jesus, to follow Him, to earnestly train my line of vision on His eyes. As I finish, I usually spend a bit of time simply relaxing and gazing into Jesus’ eyes.  Sometimes I hear those same questions that came to mind over the past few days:
“Where am I?  Am I alone?  Why did you leave me here? 
Where should I go? Can you take me away from here?”
But if I allow myself to settle into the line of vision of Jesus’ eyes, I am reminded of the words I heard this morning as the spruce boughs formed their outlines before me,
“Come, come discover today, see what is uncharted yet set before you.” 
As I look up to Him, I silently state my promise,
“I am ready to have some fun!”


I pray for each of us to open our doors to uncharted territory so we can find and see ourselves in new and exciting spaces!!




As a post note: As I am typing this my daughter-in-law sends me a text to let me know that her first attempt at adult swim class was a success.  However, the goggles she bought to use didn’t work like she had hoped.  While her vision may have been slightly impeded by the pool water, she conquered her childhood fear and managed to discover in her own words, “a safe space for me to relearn what I already knew, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.”  I wish I could tape one of my Jesus stickers to a new pair of goggles and let her use it under the water!!